Hello, Monty!

You wrote:

> Hello Marc, I read "Gospel Atonement." I would like to begin to
> talk with you concerning this one article.


Very good. This article is about the most important subject in the world.

> I believe, unless I
> missed something in the article, that you have a proper
> understanding of the Bible's teaching of Vicarious Atonement.


Okay. What about those who do not have a proper understanding?

> I
> do miss things from time to time. Please, do not hesitate to
> point out any of my mistakes. The first syllogism you gave
> concerning Tolerant Calvinists was a bit confusing to me. Please
> permit me to restate you syllogism, and you tell me if this is
> what you wish to communicate. I want to be sure I understand
> you. Let P=premise, Let C=conclusion P1) Any Tolerant
> Calvinist is one who believes that some persons believing a false
> gospel are in fact saved P2) Any Tolerant Calvinist is one who
> believes that all true Christians believe the True Gospel C)
> Therefore, any Tolerant Calvinist is one who believes that some
> persons believing a false Gospel also simultaneously believe the
> True Gospel I think what was said a bit later in the article
> reinforces what I have put down as the conclusion. The article
> goes on to say, "Since TC believes a person can believe the
> Gospel and believe universal atonement AT THE SAME TIME, then he
> must believe that the Gospel does not include the efficacious
> atonement of Jesus Christ" (emphasis mine). Let me know if this
> is what the article is communicating with this syllogism I have
> mentioned. If it is, then I have a few questions.


First of all, I'm assuming you already know that when you call it a "syllogism," you're not saying it is a syllogism in the sense of formal logic (with a major premise, a minor premise, and conclusion, in which the major term is the predicate of the solution, the minor term is the subject of the conclusion, and the middle term appears in both premises but not in the conclusion). I don't have any problem calling it a "syllogism" as long as we both understand that it's not a formal syllogism. I've run into people who say that unless it is formal it is not valid, which is not true. That's why I didn't call them "syllogisms" in my article.

Now I'd like to get into your "restatement."

> P1) Any Tolerant
> Calvinist is one who believes that some persons believing a false
> gospel are in fact saved


No, not necessarily. Tolerant Calvinists come in many different shapes and forms. What is true about all Tolerant Calvinists (at least in how I defined them in the article) is that they believe that at least some universal atonement advocates are their brothers and sisters in Christ. Not all of these TC's would say that these people believe a false gospel. I've met TC's who say that universal atonement advocates DO believe a false gospel and are still saved, and I've met TC's who say that universal atonement advocates DO NOT believe a false gospel and are saved.

> P2) Any Tolerant Calvinist is one who
> believes that all true Christians believe the True Gospel


Again, not necessarily. In introducing the first syllogism, I said, "LET US ASSUME that TC believes that all regenerate people believe the gospel. There are certainly SOME TC's who do not believe this." I was talking about a subset of TC's who DO believe that all true Christians believe the True Gospel.

> C)
> Therefore, any Tolerant Calvinist is one who believes that some
> persons believing a false Gospel also simultaneously believe the
> True Gospel


Again, not necessarily. In fact, most of the TC's I've encountered would not say they believe that there are people who believe a false gospel and the true gospel at the same time. (The main exception is the Pedersenites, who believe that true Christians believe a false gospel in the flesh and believe the true gospel in the spirit -- a bizarre gnostic dualistic notion.) Most would say that universal atonement advocates believe the TRUE GOSPEL but are just confused about some things; i.e., they believe the basics of the true gospel, but just to a lesser degree than the "enlightened Calvinists." They believe that the difference between Arminianism and sovereign grace is one of DEGREE rather than one of KIND. They do not believe that universal atonement is a DIFFERENT GOSPEL, a FALSE GOSPEL.

So my first syllogism doesn't mean what your "restatement" means. I'll go over my first syllogism:

(1) TC believes that some who believe universal atonement are saved.

This is true about all TC's as I have defined TC's. But it does not imply that TC believes that those who believe in universal atonement believe a false gospel.

(2) TC believes that all saved people believe the gospel.

This is true about the subset of TC's that I wanted to consider ("Let us assume that TC believes that all regenerate people believe the gospel."). I didn't want to consider the TC's who believe that some saved people do not believe the gospel (such as the Primitive Baptists).
(3) TC believes that some who believe universal atonement believe the gospel.

This necessarily follows from (1) and (2). TC, who believes that some who believe universal atonement are saved and who believes that all saved people believe the gospel, MUST conclude that some who believe in universal atonement believe the gospel. This is NOT saying that they believe that some persons believing a false gospel also simultaneously believe the true gospel. Do you see that?

Thanks for your thoughtful inquiry! I'm very glad that you have thoughtfully considered the "Gospel Atonement" article, and I am very willing and happy to continue to answer your questions and clarify things for you. If my explanation above doesn't sufficiently clarify things, please feel free to ask more questions.

> Thanks a
> whole bunch for your time.


You're very welcome, and I look forward to more correspondence.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter


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